Johanna Jaskowska's underwater portfolio

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Creating a portfolio website can be a daunting business. What do you show? What do you leave out? It’s even trickier if you want to target your work towards multiple audiences. While it’s easy to tailor your portfolio to different types of jobs if you are sending out a tailored PDF, video, or other collection of works for particular applications, a publicly visible portfolio takes some commitment and conviction. Many creatives go for templated portfolio sites. These are generally easy to navigate, visually clear, and structured. It’s easy to get a professional looking site running without any coding skills, or much money. However, creating something unique has its merits. Putting extra effort into a portfolio that is different to the cookie-cutter formula, and perhaps better reflects the owner’s personality, can capture the attention of the right people just when you need it.

Johanna Jaskowsa’s website is one of the most unorthodox portfolios I’ve seen. Type in the URL, and a quick fly-over takes you to the message “Welcome on board.” You are then left to fend for yourself in a rippling sea of vivid blue. Arrows indicate that interaction is required. You can either use your keyboard keys, or the mouse, to move forward, sideways, and to tilt the view up or down. Blurry rectangles hover amongst the blue at varying depths. They appear to be submerged beneath the surface of this digital ocean. The effect is very frustrating. As you near an image, its title pops up on the bottom left of the screen, a tantalising tease. And yet, the image itself remains obscured, we are not to learn what the represented work actually looks like. This take on the portfolio seems somewhat counterproductive, however its unique format intrigued me enough to check out all of the Jaskowska’s social media links. Her Tumblr and Instagram offer more satisfying examples of her work — she is a media, motion and graphic designer with experience in social media, apps, and websites. The more adventurous portfolio may well be worth considering. Play around with her website here.